Will Poch ever break his trophy curse?
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The midweek defeat against fourth-tier Colchester United not only extended Spurs’ woeful away record but ousted them from the EFL Cup far too early. Mauricio Pochettino will shrug off the importance of a secondary domestic competition even though that strikes many as a cavalier attitude considering the Argentine is yet to win a title in his entire managerial career, let alone his five-plus years at White Hart Lane and the club's as yet unchristened new digs.
Spurs broke their transfer record to bring in Tanguy Ndombele from Lyon and acquired other exciting talents in Ryan Sessegnon and Giovani Lo Celso. The LilyWhite faithful had to expect more. Nearly three months into the campaign, however, all three have been injured and none have settled.
The squad as a whole struggle to find any rhythm. They have won just two of their eight games in all competitions, the 4-0 win against Crystal Palace the only decent result. Pochettino's squad can't hold a lead. They settled for a point after going up 2-0 against Arsenal and Olympiacos. They lost 2-1 at the King Power Stadium opening the scoring against Leicester.
Pochettino remains an optimist.
We're not so far away. Our performances are not as bad as the feeling and atmosphere that we create. I'm sure we'll start winning games and performing well. The team is doing similar or better than last season in performances but the results are different.
Even if Spurs' upgraded squad is doing better, they're still a cut below Manchester City and Liverpool. Both Northern clubs are deeper and more balanced than Spurs. Nor is either showing signs of slowing.
Once again Spurs must battle for third or fourth. Another deep run in the Champions League would be wonderful but how many people are banking on it? Surely less than predicted the first.
Spurs struck the perfect balance, riding luck and momentum to Madrid. Arriving in Istanbul in the same fashion is highly unlikely. Their best chance at silverware is the FA Cup. Even if the LilyWhites conquer Wembley, it isn't much of a haul over a half-dozen campaigns.
When Pochettino arrived in 2014, he inherited Jan Vertonghen, Danny Rose, Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane. He brought in Ben Davies, Kieran Trippier, Eric Dier, Dele Alli and Toby Alderweireld. It's been a fun ride but players are starting to fall by the wayside. Trippier was sold this summer. Alli is perennially injured. Kane, as well, to a lesser extent. Rose, Eriksen and Alderweireld are rumoured to be distributing their CVs to top clubs. Vertonghen is reaching the end of the line.
Heung-min Son and Lucas Moura are a promising start on the next generation. So too Harry Winks. Ndombele and Sessegnon are yet to make their mark. There's no guarantee the club will keep Lo Celso. The jury is out on Oliver Skipp and Kyle Walker-Peters.
Rather than keeping his feet planted in the present, Pochettino is thinking about the future. That's why he started Skipp, Japhet Tanganga and Troy Parrott against Colchester in addition to handing Victor Wanyama a rare start in midfield. He paid for not taking the competition seriously. There was nothing stopping him from starting more veterans and bringing the youngsters on in the second half. When you need a trophy you shouldn't be compromising on quality.